I’m often asked to give a few tips on how to make your relationship better. Here are five quick tips:
1) Turn off media and engage with your partner. Looking at the person instead of a screen sends a message–you are important, important enough for me to get off these screens and focus on you.
2) Open up your life to another person. Relationships are about doing life together, sharing the good, bad and ugly with someone you love, like and trust. Take a risk and open up to a trustworthy person.
3) Connect with your partner daily. You don’t need long, drawn out talks. Just take 5 minutes a day when you are both home and update each other on your day.
4) Make time for fun. Laugh and love. It’s a winning combination. Watch a funny movie, get together with friends, play a silly game, visit a park and eat sloppy hot dogs…anything that creates fun memories. And laughter is a big stress reducer!
5) Go outside. In my blog, The 3 Best Ways to Unwind, I talk about how being in nature impacts the mind in a good way. Get out there people!
I’ve been through years of relationship training. During those years, some ideas seem like good ones, others not so much. At a recent seminar I attended, I liked this idea and thought I would pass it on.
The leader of the seminar, Dr. Gary Brainerd, suggested this simple strategy. Take four minutes, four times a day to connect with your partner. A small investment of time could make a real difference. Here are the four times a day to devote four minutes:
1) When you both wake up. Take four minutes to touch, talk or do something to bring on the day.
2) When you say goodbye for the day. Start your day apart together. Say something warm and positive and send each other off to face the day.
3) The first moments you reconnect from being apart that day. Greet each other with a kiss and a few minutes of sharing your day.
4) When you say goodnight. End the day with a devotion, touch, or words of gratitude for each other.
Easy to do and I like this. Give it a try and tell me how it goes.
With a growing desire to say, Yes to the dress, Karla often dreams of her wedding day. In her head, it is all planned out–her colors, the music, location, the rings, the cake and how the ceremony will be conducted. But Karla, like so many young couples, is cohabitating with her boyfriend who seems to be in no hurry to run down the aisle.
Karla is part of a growing trend of people who are not tying the knot. The 2010 census found that the median age of marriage has risen to age 28 for men and age 26 for women. The real surprise is that only 48% of all households are represented by married couples. For the first time in history, married couples are in the minority.
The reason for this demographic change seems to be due to more divorced or widowed older people who live longer, and more young people who postpone marriage for all sorts of reasons. Usually these reasons have to do with money and job security; more women in the labor force who are economically independent; more women who delay having children; and more couples live together.
So Karla, those wedding vows may not be spoken as long as you live with a guy who is comfortable with the way things are now!
I recently attended an all day seminar on couples counseling. We began the seminar filling out a form about our parents. There were two sections–positive and negative traits of your mother and father (or major caretaker growing up). Then we were to circle the top traits and see if they were similar to the person we married.
For my father, I wrote–stable, integrity, always there, man of faith and easy going. Interestingly, the man I married has all the same traits. I also noticed that I tend to incorporate some of my dad’s negative traits in to my life. as well. For example, my dad is not a risk taker and neither am I. He is hard on himself when he makes a mistake and so am I.
Dads are important influences regarding who we become. We integrates parts of them into our growing and changing selves whether we are conscious of this or not.
So this Father’s Day, take a few moments and consider the positive and negatives traits of your father. Are they a reflection of you or the person you married? This day, focus on the positive and honor him for pouring good things into your life. List those positive traits, tell him, or write them in a brief note. Sometimes, we focus too much on the problems and not enough on the good things we get from our parents.
Later, you may want to reflect on those negative traits and decide how much of those are in you or the person you married. Making those traits conscious allows you to understand the attraction you have to specific people and work on those issues in your marriage and yourself. Then, you can change those things that need changing and keep those parts you value.
And even if your parenting wasn’t stellar, you do have a heavenly Father who provides you with all you need. Not all dads are good at giving unconditional love and acceptance, but your heavenly Father is. He never rejects, abandons or makes you earn His love. He is always present and ready to give you good things.